Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., head of the American delegation, who introduced the resolution, emphasized the American viewpoint that final decision in the matter must rest with the U. N. Chief of Staff. He took the position that development projects consistent with the armistice agreement which were “in the general interest” and did not infringe on the rights of others should be “encouraged. “
LODGE UNDERLINES AUTHORITY OF UN TRUCE CHIEF
In the present case, he insisted, it was for the chief of staff to decide whether the Jordan project met these conditions. He was the proper authority to make this decision and neither party should “take unilateral action” or seek to “exercise a veto” in this matter.
Sir Gladwyn Jebb, head of the British delegation, scolded Israel because the issue had had to come before the Security Council which was thus required to face, not the question whether the canal was in itself a good and useful project, but “solely with the question of the failure of one party of the Israel-Syrian armistice agreement to comply with a request on the part of the chairman of the Mixed Armistice Commission. “
The British spokesman also took strong issue with the Syrian position that Syrian consent was needed for any project in the demilitarized zone. He said he had not been convinced that the work could not proceed without the consent of Syria. The present issue, he said, was whether the work was admissible under the armistice terms “as they stand. “
Henri Hoppenot, spokesman for France, said Israel’s failure to comply with directions of the U. N. Chief of Staff has resulted in the issue coming before the Council whose obvious duty now was to support the authority of the chief of staff.
He noted that the “defendant party” had announced suspension of work on the project during the Council’s debates. The work, he said, should “remain stopped until the decision of the chief of staff shall cease to have its effect. “
Turning to the Syrian argument that diversion of Jordan water would give Israel military advantages, M. Hoppenot pointed out that, in recent years, much larger rivers had not proved to be real military barriers. It would be “unjust,” he said, if “fate and economic development” were to be decided by such “war games” and if the Jordan were to be kept flowing, unused, between two banks more or less desert because of a lack of agreement.
United Nations observers, commenting tonight on the draft resolution, stressed three factors expressed or implicit in the resolution and the speeches of the sponsors; first, the Big Three rejected Syria’s claim to a veto right over the project; secondly, acknowledgment by the Big Three that the Israeli Jordan project is a desirable project, and, thirdly, the implication that Gen. Bennike’s negotiations will be centered mainly on securing an understanding between himself and the Israel Government.